Glockenspiel New City Hall - Glockenspiel New City Hall information and pictures
or clock tower is a tourist attraction located on Marienplatz
in central Munich
. The clock tower consists of 32 life-size figures and 43 bells. The bells of the Glockenspiel play different tunes. Built as part of the New Town Hall, the clock tower dates from the beginning of the 20th century. It chimes every day at 11 am and reenacts two 16th-century stories. The marriage of Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lorraine is presented at the top half of the tower. A joust with knights represents Bavaria and Lothringen, honoring the happy couple. This wedding had been among the most expensive ones during the Middle Ages. To celebrate this dynastic deal, the Austrian archdukes arrived on a train with over 600 oxen and 1,500 horses carved. At the day of the wedding, 3,500 mounted riders went to a nearby city to pick the bride. The celebrations lasted about 2 weeks. During his reign, Wilhelm V was famous as the ruler who founded the Hofbrauhaus, Munich’s best beer-hall, but infamous for the witch hunts that he ordered throughout his domain. Wilhelm V is also known as a militant Catholic who led anti-protestant policy. Bavaria became a place of counter-reformation actions which resulted in the expulsion of Catholics. Maximillian I, the son of Wilhelm V continued this legacy after the death of his father.
The bottom of the clock tower tells another story, that of the coopers’ dance of the 16th century. During this period, the town was hit by plague, and all townsmen went into hiding. The barrel makers were the first to appear on the street and perform a big dance, showing that people could come out again. The Duke of Bavaria was very pleased and ordered that the dance be reenacted every 7 years. The reenactment of the dance aimed to preserve the collective memory of the deadly plague. While the story might be apocryphal, the city of Munich did suffer a plague, and around one third of the population perished. The dance that commemorates the event is regarded as one of the last German guild dances. The custom has been preserved to this day, and the dance takes place during the German carnival Fasching. The next dance will take place in 2012.
The show lasts fifteen minutes and at the end, a golden bird at the tower’s top chirps 3 times to mark the end of the spectacle. Those who look for a higher vantage point may go to the Hugendubel bookshop. It is located just across the street, and a good view opens from the third floor. At 9 pm, two figures make a nighttime appearance, a night watchman on one side and an angel on the other.
The clock tower is a recent addition to the old square. The building of the Town Hall escaped serious damage during the Second World War while many other buildings nearby were left roofless.
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